When Jan Holman, 68, was placed in hospice care recently, she felt like she had some unfinished business to attend to.
Jan was rather suddenly taken to the hospital weeks ago following a terminal bowel cancer diagnosis. She was ripped from her normal routine and life, and realized she didn’t have much time left.
But the problem was that she’d never gotten to say goodbye to her beloved pets: her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Monty and Rowley, and her horse, Bob.
While in hospice care at Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester, England, Jan had a glimmer of hope that she might be able to see her pups again, as she was able to bring her dogs to that particular hospice to visit a neighbor in the past.
But as she neared the end of her life, the hospice — knowing how important her equine companion was to her — decided to go the extra mile for her and arranged for all three of her animals to visit.
“Even though Jan wasn’t able to get out of bed, she was so excited to have the chance to see Bob one more time,” the hospice shared in a Facebook post on Oct. 6.
“The nurses wheeled her bed to the patio doors and the team from Thornleigh Park Farm Stables, where Bob is in livery, walked him into the Hospice courtyard for a very emotional re-union between horse and rider.”
“Bob put his head through the doors and nuzzled Jan’s neck and lap and thoroughly enjoyed his treats of carrots, bananas and apples. Jan’s face lit up as soon as she saw Bob.”
Jan was elated to be reunited with her old friends, if only for a short while.
“I just can’t believe what the staff here at the hospice have done for me,” she said.
“Until a few weeks ago I was still riding Bob every day and he is such an important part of my life, and I have missed him so much.
“I knew that arranging for my dogs to visit was possible as we had a neighbour who was a patient at the hospice a few years ago and we were allowed to bring the dogs to visit her, but I just didn’t expect that they would ever be able to give me the chance to see Bob one more time.”
According to ITV, Jan has since passed away. Her husband of 46 years, Dennis, expressed his deep gratitude for the hospice’s willingness to orchestrate the special visit in his wife’s final days.
“It was just such a relief once Jan was moved from the hospital to the hospice in Chester and we were able to have named visitors who could come and see Jan regularly,” he told the hospice care team.
“However, we never imagined that we would be able to include our dogs Monty and Rowley and Jan’s horse Bob on the visiting list.”
The post has gone viral, bringing joy to many who share Jan’s heart for their own animals and are happy to see the compassion and effort exercised by the hospice.
“The ethos of hospice care is not just about caring for the clinical needs of our patients but also looking after their emotional and spiritual needs as well,” the hospice concluded in the post.
“It’s about making a difference to our patients and their families in whatever way we can.”